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November 30, 2015 / 18 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Ehud Olmert’

Ehud Olmert Found Guilty of Fraud in ‘Talansky Affair’

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been found guilty of fraud and breach of trust on a retrial in what has become known as the ‘Talansky Affair.’

The ruling was a unanimous decision handed down by a three-judge panel. Olmert is to be sentenced on May 7.

In 2012, Olmert was acquitted on charges of accepting bribes in cash-stuffed envelopes from New York businessman and philanthropist Morris (Moshe) Talansky. Among the charges were allegations the money changed hands during the time that Olmert served as mayor of Jerusalem and as a minister of trade and industry, before becoming prime minister.

Former Olmert confidant and office manager Shula Zaken paid a high price for her loyalty when she was convicted along with many others. But Zaken was sent to prison with a much lighter sentence resulting from a plea bargain deal in the second corruption case in which Olmert was convicted and sentenced last year. Also in connection with that deal, 

Zaken became a state’s witness in that trial, providing evidence in the form of tape recorded conversations with her boss about receiving the cash.

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the district court to re-open the current case to hear that evidence, which led to his retrial in the Talansky affair, three years after his acquittal.

Nearly a year ago, in May 2014, Olmert was convicted on charges of taking bribes while serving as mayor of Jerusalem, and sentenced to six years in prison.

The massive Jerusalem real estate scandal known as the “HolyLand affair” rocked the country, bringing one major name after another into the District Court.

Olmert’s attorneys said they would vigorously appeal today’s (Monday, March 31, 2015) verdict, as they did with that last year.

Richard Gere Coming to Israel

Saturday, March 28th, 2015

Richard Gere will be coming to Israel on Sunday.

Gere will be meeting with former president Shimon Peres, and checking out co-existence initiatives by the Peres Center for Peace.

Gere has appeared in over 50 movies, including the well known, “Pretty Women” (an Ehud Olmert favorite) and “An Officer and a Gentleman”.

Hezbollah Planned to Assassinate Prime Minister Olmert

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Hezbollah planned to assassinate then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2009 in retaliation for the elimination of Hezbollah mastermind terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, according to the London-based Al-Arabi-Al-Jadeed newspaper.

Mughniyeh was killed on February 12, 2008, when his car exploded in the Kafr-Sousa neighborhood in Damascus. Though the assassination was widely attributed to Israel, a recent report by The Washington Post claims the assassination was a CIA-Mossad joint operation.

Al-Arabi’s report claims the Olmert assassination was thwarted by Mohammed Shurba, a high-ranking Hezbollah officer. Shurba was recently arrested by Hezbollah amid concerns that he may be an Israeli agent.

According to the report, Shurba also provided Israel with vital information that helped prevent a Hezbollah terror attack on the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan in 2009.

As of now, Hezbollah hasn’t released any official response to Al-Arabi’s report. One reason for Hezbollah’s lack of response could be embarrassment over Shurba’s high position in the organization. In recent years Shurba held important roles within the organization, among them, head of the personal security detail of Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary-general.


Ehud Olmert’s ‘Talansky Affair’ Re-Opens in Jerusalem District Court

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

The corruption trial of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert — this one relating to wads of cash from Long Island businessman and philanthropist Rabbi Morris “Moshe” Talansky — has reopened in Jerusalem District Court.

Talansky founded The New Jerusalem Fund together with Olmert. He told the Jerusalem District Court in past testimony that over a period of 13 years he gave the former prime minister about $150,000, most of it in cash, earmarked for campaign and personal expenses. Some was intended as a loan, some not.

The court was set to hear testimony from former Olmert aide Shula Zaken, who has turned state’s witness, as well as from Olmert in defense of himself.

The Israeli leader was convicted of breach of trust in the Holyland Complex affair in 2012 and given a suspended sentence of one year in prison and a fine of NIS 75,000 ($21,000). This year he was convicted of lying to the court in testimony about the case, and was convicted again on one count of breach of trust in the same case.

Olmert was sentenced on May 13, 2014, to six years in prison and fined NIS 1.5 million ($430,000), and was to begin serving his sentence yesterday, September 1.

He was acquitted in the Rishon Tours and Talansky affairs, but due to new evidence the Talansky affair was also re-opened today.

All three cases span Olmert’s tenures as mayor of Jerusalem, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, Finance Minister and finally as Prime Minister – a period from 1993 to 2009.

Olmert’s Legacy

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

As former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert heads off to jail for corruption, one tries to consider which event will best define Olmert’s legacy.

His role in destroying Gush Katif? His abject failure in the Lebanon war? The Holyland Towers? Simply being the first Israeli Prime Minister sent to jail?

I think Olmert will best be remembered for his attempt to follow up on his success in destroying Gush Katif, by trying to violently destroy the Jewish town of Amona in 2006.

Amona Photo by: Pierre Terdjman/Flash90

Photo by: Pierre Terdjman/Flash90

Amona Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Photo by: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

What do you think is Olmert’s Legacy?

Numerous Associates Sentenced to Prison with Former PM Ehud Olmert

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Several other associates of former prime minister Ehud Olmert were sentenced to prison Tuesday and fined millions of shekels, along with the ex-politician.

Of 13 top public officials and business leaders who were charged in the affair, 10 were convicted on March 31 of charges of bribery, moral turpitude, money laundering and more.

The guilty sentenced today (Tuesday) were:

Dan Dankner,  former chairman of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s second largest bank. He is currently joint chairman of Israel Salt Industries. Dankner was convicted on charges of offering hundreds of thousands in bribes to rezone the land on which the Holyland complex is built. Dankner was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 1.5 million.

Hillel Cherney, developer of Holyland, the residential complex project that started the nightmare in the first place. He was convicted on 19 charges of corruption and additional charges of breach of trust.  Cherney was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 2 million.

Avigdor Kelner, another developer of Holyland. He was convicted of two charges of corruption. Kelner was sentenced to three years in prison and fined NIS 1 million.

Meir Rabin, a real estate developer. He was charged with mediating the bribery between developers and government officials for Holyland. Rabin was sentenced to five years in prison.

Uri Sheetrit, a former Jerusalem municipal engineer. He was charged with taking bribes. Sheetrit was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Eliezer Simchayoff, a Jerusalem city council member. He was convicted on two counts of bribery and immediately suspended himself following sentencing, pending the outcome of his appeal.  Simchayoff was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and fined NIS 300,000.

All are expected to appeal to the Supreme Court within a few days.

Others convicted but not sentenced today are:

Shmuel Dachner (deceased), before his death in March 2013 represented Holyland real estate developer Hillel Cherney. Dachner turned state’s witness and gave testimony that formed the core of the case against most of those convicted in March.

Shula Zaken, former top aide to Olmert. Zaken was convicted on charges of corruption and was closely associated with nearly everything the former mayor, minister and prime minister did. She made a plea bargain arrangement with the state that has reportedly led to a prison term of 11 months. She will be formally sentenced this coming Thursday, May 15.

Uri Lupolianski, was assistant mayor to then-Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert and then succeeded him in the post. He was convicted on charges of offering  bribes to rezone the land on which the Holyland complex is built. Lupolianski, in poor health, will be sentenced on June 9.

Fines are to be paid in 10 installments, according to the court decision.

Former PM Ehud Olmert Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday morning to serve six years in prison. The judge also imposed a fine of NIS 1 million ($289,000.)  He ordered authorities to seize NIS 500,000 in funds the former prime minister has collected from various sources, including numerous speaking engagements in the United States.

Olmert was ordered to begin serving his prison sentence on September 1, pending appeal.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen handed down the sentence in what has become known as the famed “Holyland trial” after Olmert was convicted on two charges of bribery.

The former prime minister was convicted of taking bribes from contractors who built the Holyland residential complex near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

The rezoning and other “adjustments” that came in exchange for bribes continued through the 1990s and into the next decade. These were the years in which Olmert served as mayor of the capital city and minister of industry, trade and infrastructure. Both were pivotal posts from which to smooth the way for the developers of the Holyland project.

Olmert was also recently questioned on suspicion of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television. The allegations are based on recordings given to police by former Olmert aide Shula Zaken, his closest aide, also convicted in the wide-ranging Holyland scandal. Zaken gave police the recordings as part of her plea bargain with the prosecution.

The Holyland trial has dragged on for years, tainting Olmert’s term as prime minister and shadowing the country’s years beyond while bringing down numerous aides and colleagues.

Before pronouncing sentence, the judge pointed out that Olmert is an “intelligent, brilliant people person” and called him an “avid Zionist.” He praised him for donating to bereaved families and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center.

But he then sharply reprimanded the former state leader, saying “The crime of bribery pollutes public service, destroys governments…” and called it “one of the worst crimes.”

Rosen said Olmert was guilty of moral turpitude — a term that means the ex-politican will be forced to wait at least seven years before re-entering the field. The judge added that those who take bribes are equivalent to “traitors” in their betrayal of the public trust.

To punish that betrayal, the judge revoked the 10 percent of Olmert’s mayoral pension.

Olmert has been convicted previously charges of corruption. In 2012, he was pronounced guilty of taking bribes in a Jerusalem case.

That trial earned the former mayor and subsequent minister and prime minister a light sentence of community service only. The judge in the case said in his decision that Olmert’s state leadership as prime minister had afforded him the right to leniency.

Not so today, however.  Judge Rosen said in his decision that the higher the post of the public servant, the harsher the punishment for bribery should be.

“Those who belong to the social and economic elite of the nation should not be held to the same standard as those in common society,” Rosen said. He added in explanation that his hands were tied by law in meting out the punishment, and that he was enjoined by those legal guidelines to set a minimum sentence without discretion.

Olmert issued a statement prior to sentencing saying that he was innocent and protesting an expected sentence that included prison time.

“This is a sad day on which a severe and unjust verdict is to be handed down to an innocent man,” Olmert said in his statement.

He has 45 days to appeal in Supreme Court – which he plans to do,, said Olmert spokesperson Amir Dan. He added that he hopes “the real picture will emerge and the verdict will change completely.”

To the eternal shame of the State of Israel, this is the first time in the history of the nation that a prime minister has been convicted of a felony and sent to prison. Likewise, former president Moshe Katsav is currently serving time in prison for having raped and sexually assaulted his female employees.

Olmert will appeal the conviction and sentence in the Supreme Court, spokesperson Amir Dan said. His attorney Eli Zohar is expected to file a request for a stay of sentence in the meantime.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/former-pm-ehud-olmert-sentenced-to-6-years-in-prison/2014/05/13/

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